Sunday, January 27, 2013

Canada Geese: Poster Bird for Wildlife Mismanagement and Killing for Convenience

Canada goose:  Hapless victim of constant human error and lust to kill.
Thanks to David Karopkin of (27) GooseWatch NYC, we have obtained the goose kill contract between New York City and USDA Wildlife Services that runs through 2014.:

Many interesting things in this document.

In the "background" section for example, it is stated that thousands of live decoy and "semi domesticated" (emphasis supplied) Canada geese were released in the north east, starting in the early 1900's and continuing to the 1980's -- mostly for the benefit of hunters. 

Did it never occur to these biologists and other governmental entities that semi tame birds would have little fear of people and congregate in human populated areas (especially to avoid being hunted)?    Did it never occur to them that birds hatched and raised in the US would have no instinct to "migrate" to Canada or the Arctic?

Now, of course these same biologists and governmental entities say we have "too many" geese.  The goal is to "reduce" an estimated 257,000 geese in NY state to 85,000.

The funding for this mostly comes from Congressional appropriations which in just over a few years has run into hundreds of thousands of tax dollars.   Its costs roughly $230.00 PER GOOSE for these heinous and lethal roundups.

(Show a way for government to blow tax payer money down the drain -- in this case, trying to "correct" past errors -- and for sure, our legislators will vote for and fund it.)

Under "effectiveness," the contract states that the resident goose population in NYC has already been dramatically "reduced."   And yet the plan is to kill even more geese.

And although this contract states WS will not round up "less than 10 geese" in a site within 5 miles of airport, this past summer, USDA rounded up 6 geese from Clearview Park Golf Course:   13-00259 WS Records Review  

Although we cannot be certain, the evidence suggests the roundup of 6 hapless geese at the golf course on June 25th (bending and stretching USDA's own protocols) was conducted for purposes of sheer convenience.

On the exact same day (6-25-12), USDA rounded up 88 geese from nearby College Point Old Flushing Airport.  

Since the golf course was only five minutes away, USDA (and others) obviously decided to "kill 94 birds with one stone," so to speak.

The six pitiful geese at Clearview Park Golf Course represented absolutely zero "threat" to anyone or anything.  They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Their lives valued at less than zero (as all the other geese wrongfully destroyed over these past few years to try and undo a mistake.) 

Although USDA WS takes great pains to explain and document their claims and justifications for wildlife destruction, they cannot equate the roundup of six geese in a park with any kind of respect for anything -- even their own rules, statements and determinations.  The destruction of six geese from Clearview Park Golf Course this past summer, was in fact, "overkill" and a killing for convenience.

It seems strange that we would look to the same "experts" who were largely responsible for creating the so-called goose "overpopulation" problem in the first place for any "solutions" to it.

Just as government entities, hunters and so-called, biologists were wrong in nearly hunting Canada geese to extinction in the last century, they were also wrong in  "stocking" the north east with thousands of semi-domesticated birds who bore little behavior resemblance to their wild migrating cousins.

They are also wrong now in targeting for destruction these same geese who are nothing more than the offspring of what they created and planted for purposes of saving the species in the first place.

One screw-up should not justify and create room for more.  You make a mistake, learn to live with and adjust to it.

The tragic irony to all this is that none of the, "killing, repopulation, stocking and killing" cycle would have occurred in the first place had we simply created and nurtured tolerance, peace and understanding of wildlife (instead of regarding Canada geese and other wildlife as nothing more than targets for hunters' guns and arrows).

Perhaps no animal is more symbolic of almost constant wildlife mismanagement and overkill  than are Canada geese.

One suspects that were we finally to leave these highly intelligent and innocent birds alone, they would eventually regulate their own population to what the environment can support.

We as a species need to learn that sometimes less is more in terms of our interference and attempts to "manage" wildlife.

The geese and other animals had it figured out long before humans ever came upon the scene. -- PCA



Mary Castrovilla said...

Hi Patty,
I’m confused.
You said in your blog today that “Its costs roughly $230.00 PER GOOSE for these heinous and lethal roundups” Should it have read $23.00?
The USDA’s fee to roundup the Canada geese on July 2nd, 2012 from Sprain Lake Golf Course was approximately $9.53 per goose.($4,500- {West. County Dept of Parks given to USDA} divided by 470 captured geese).
So glad to read how your ducks carved out a place in lake.
Mary Castrovilla (

PCA said...

Hi Mary,

Apparently, it was much more expensive in NYC if you read the latest contract and noted costs at the end of it.